WSPD15

Every 13 minutes in the US, a life is lost to suicide.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death for people ages 10-24.
Untreated depression is the leading cause of suicide, with almost 2/3 of people never seeking proper treatment.

These statistics scream the biggest lie that’s ever been told. The lie that depression and suicide are things that we can’t talk about. That we should continue to suffer in silence because there’s no possible way anyone could understand what we’re going through.

Today I hope to change that. I hope that by starting honest conversations, that others will have the courage to follow suit. I believe in a world where suicide is no longer an option.

This is a world that should have been available for my friend Christine and her son Marc, but sadly were not.

I met Christine through Project Semicolon and have been working with her and her church for the past couple of months writing a bible study curriculum for them. She too believes in a world where suicide is no longer an option for those who struggle with depression and addiction. Tragically, her son’s life was cut short by his own hands this past weekend and now more than ever, she is determined to fight for those like her son who struggle with depression and addiction to find the courage and the help they so desperately need and deserve.

But what about when you lose your way and you don’t know where to turn to?

If there’s one thing that I’ve learned in the almost ten years that I’ve struggled with depression it’s that it can sometimes be really easy to lose your way. To forget the things that you know are true about you and believe the lies that your depression and the enemy feed you.

To be spun around so many times that you forget which way is up. But it’s in those moments that the core of who I am is dependent on remembering why my story is so valuable and so irreplaceable.

No matter how heavy life may feel, there is something out there that is more powerful and more constant than our struggles could ever be. Hope.

Your struggles matter because you are a walking, breathing, living story of hope.

As for me?

My story is one that has been continuously changing over the last ten years. Depression has become a word that I am ever so familiar with. It explains why I’ve felt the way I have, but it in no way defines me. Self-harm is something that I thought would consume my life forever. But 953 days ago, I made the decision to live a life of recovery because I’m worth the fight. Suicide
is something that twice has tried to be my final chapter. And I thank God every day for the people that he placed in my life for each of those moments.

I am a story that could’ve ended but didn’t. I am a story of recovery and redemption. Our stories may be different, but they all deserve the new beginning that hope promises.

The reason that I fight for people to continue their stories is because I know all too well what it’s like to not have anyone that will stand in the gap for me. And it’s also because I believe that through my story, through my brokenness, that people can find hope in their own stories. That they can find the redemption that we all long to have.

There are still days when darkness wins – days when I allow every lie that the enemy feeds me to become my supreme truth.

There are days where my past rears its ugly head and I question every positive step I’ve taken in the past three years. These are the days when I am so thankful to have the arms of friends to hold me up and the love of Jesus shining through them to guide me back.

The beauty and the peace that I’ve found from letting people into my story has been the best thing I’ve ever done in my journey of recovery. Having people in my life that genuinely love me and loving them in return has done more for me than I think they or myself will ever know.

If there is still breath in the lungs that God gave you, your story is far from being over. And because of that, you owe it to yourself to continue to fight for your story.

There will be days where that seems impossible to do. But you aren’t alone. But you have people that will fight with you and for you on the days that you can’t fight for yourself.

We were never meant to do life alone. We were created for community. You never know who is
watching you and wondering how you manage to stay hopeful despite the battles you face.

Whether your battle comes in the form of depression like mine has or something entirely different, I’m going to ask that you realize the importance and the value of your story. That you would continue it. That you would realize that you are surrounded by people who love you and a Savior waiting to give you the redemption that you so desperately want.

I pray that whatever you are struggling with today that you find the freedom that is found in transparency, but more importantly, that you find the freedom that is found in Jesus. That you would lay these down at his feet because you were never meant to carry these things.

You are more than these moments. You are not your struggle. I am not my depression. I am not the scars left behind from years of self-harm. I am not my two suicide attempts. I am the daughter of the King. I am a living, breathing, screaming invitation to believe better things. I am a story that is far from being finished. And my ultimate prayers is that you would begin to believe those words for yourself.

You are beautiful. You are set apart. You are worth it. You are loved. Your story is still being written.

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